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Planning and zoning commission approves changes to zoning code


Public hearing for use of Jackson Nazarene Church also scheduled

The City of Jackson Planning and Zoning Commission approved changes to the city’s zoning code to make it clear how residents will be notified when zoning changes occur.

The clarification was proposed by city staff after residents of Broadridge Subdivision brought up issues regarding the wording of the code earlier this year and when letters should be sent out by the city when changes to the zoning code are made.

The residents specifically opposed how letters were not sent out to residents when the commission changed the O-1 professional office zoning code were handled in 2009.

There are two types of amendments to the zoning code, including property rezoning and text amendments.

Rezoning decisions can change a specific property’s zoning classification or approve a special use permit. Text amendments are changes to the zoning regulation in the code of ordinance.

The wording changes to the code, approved on Dec. 12, were enacted to help clarify the differences between how the city deals with rezoning a specific property and how it deals with changing the code more broadly.

When rezoning a property, residents within 185 feet of a zoning change are sent a letter before the amendment is approved to voice any concerns to the commission.

Because the text amendments are not connected to a specific property, no letters are sent out during these deliberations. The city is only required to post a notice regarding the proposed amendment in a local newspaper.

City staff said if they were to change their policy and send letters to all affected residents and their neighbors when text amendments are proposed, they would have to send letters to every resident in Jackson. They said that would be logistically difficult and the city does not currently have a list of all mailing addresses in the city limits.

In other action:

The commission scheduled a public hearing on a request for a special use permit for Blue Sky Community Services to provide services and education for individuals with disabilities in an R-2 Single Family Residential District.

Blue Sky Community Services, which provides independent living and employment training for individuals with varying intellectual and developmental disabilities, would like to use the former Jackson Nazarene Church as a new location.

Blue Sky currently provides services to over 70 individuals with disabilities in their locations in Cape Girardeau and Sikeston, and it is looking to expand. They have already worked with individuals who are seniors or recent graduates of Jackson High School, making Jackson an ideal place to expand.

The Jackson location would be open for training from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays, with staff using the facilities sometimes outside those hours.

Earlier this year, use of the Jackson Nazarene Church by the faith-based addiction recovery organization Teen Challenge was met with protest from some residents who lived near the former church. After a contentious public hearing, the planning and zoning commission unanimously opposed their rezoning request.

While they acknowledged that this proposal is very different from the Teen Challenge proposal in March, the board members decided it was important to allow for feedback from nearby residents before making a decision. The public hearing was scheduled at 6 p.m. on Jan. 9 in the council room at Jackson’s city hall.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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